Do you trust your customers?

In a recent vacation to Lake Placid, NY, I was taken down a winding country road to South Meadow Farm. We entered the small room attached to the barn which displayed a large variety of local food stuffs. We were tempted by shelves of maple syrup (light-, medium-, and dark-amber varieties), homemade jam, maple-based candy and other local goodies.

But what was missing was most striking.

A cashier.

This shop was unstaffed. There was a tin of dollars and credit card slips for you to process your own transaction. You either left what you owed and took any needed change, or completed a credit card slip noting your total. The owner came by several times a day to harvest her payments, and I’m told she has only once had anything stolen in many years of operation. She purposely leaves less than $50 in the can so it is less tempting to would-be scofflaws.

In my business, colleagues have shared they will put a stack of books in the back of their seminar room with a sign for purchasers to deposit $20 in the basket if they want a book. They report rarely, if ever, having books disappear sans payment. I’ve tried this myself and it seems to work.

Do you trust your customers? Would you allow them to self-service pay if they could? You may say, “I sell to businesses. It involves invoices, etc. We couldn’t do anything like that.” Think again.

My client Granite Rock took trust to a new level. Their accounting and sales people used to spend a lot of time negotiating with clients who felt they should get a discount if the goods were not what they expected. They started a policy that if a customer felt s/he deserved a discount for goods not up to exceptions, they could send in what they felt they owed with an explanation of why they were taking the discount. Granite Rock rarely pushed back, and they receive invaluable information on how to improve their goods/services. They spent no time negotiating with unhappy customers. Their unhappy customers count was reduced to nearly zero.

How can you show your customers you trust them? Write your examples in a comment.

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2 Comments on “Do you trust your customers?”


  1. Rebecca,

    Glad you got posted on the Carnival of Trust, and thanks for your note back. You’re welcome!
    It also got me to your site; I’ll now follow you on Twitter, and I was particularly glad to hear of the recommendations for Singapore and KL hotels. Keep those good stories comin’!
    Charlie Green


  2. […] are some lovely counter-examples; see a blogpost called “Do You Trust Your Customers” by Rebecca Morgan, at Grow Your Key Talent  about the use of honor boxes and […]


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